| Tue, Apr 12, 2011 @ 09:00 AM

Medigap: Filling the Gaps in Original Medicare

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Medigap plans can help pay for the portions of your Medicare expenses not usually covered by Original MedicareA Medigap plan (also known as Medicare Supplement Insurance) is a kind of private Medicare coverage that helps pay costs Medicare Parts A and B (Original Medicare) don’t cover, like copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. Medicare Supplement Insurance carriers offer Medigap plansthat help cover out-of-pocket expenses associated with doctor visits, hospital stays, skilled nursing facility stays, hospice, blood transfusions or foreign travel emergencies, among other medical expenses.

There are 10 different Medigap plans, labeled “A” through “N,” and each plan varies in costs and the type and scope of coverage. (These letters are not related to the Medicare Parts A, B C and D designations.) Not all plans are available in every state, so check with your state’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to find out what plans are available in your area.

Various Medigap plans offer different types of coverage. For example, Plan F is often considered the most comprehensive coverage because it protects you from nearly all out-of-pocket hospital and doctor expenses. Medigap plans are designed to meet specific needs for certain individuals. Because plans cover different benefits, make sure to find the coverage that’s right for you.

The federal government defines and regulates the standard benefits for the plans. This means that while Medigap Plan C and Plan D offer different coverage, Plan C benefits are the same from one company to another, or from state to state, though the cost may differ. Once you know what plan you’re interested in, it is wise to shop around, because there are differences in price for the exact same coverage.

Your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period starts the first month you’re both 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B. While you may submit an enrollment application for Medigap Insurance at any time, it cannot be rejected if submitted during an open enrollment period because you have a guaranteed right to buy any Medigap plan sold in your state. (Some states have additional open enrollment periods.)

If you are eligible and enrolling in Medicare at an age other than 65, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for free advice on available plans that might suit your individual situation.

Visit www.medicare.gov for a list of Medigap plans in your area, what they cover and cost, and the private insurance agencies who sell them. MedicareMadeClear.com has more information on Medicare and how it works.

The family of UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Solutions plans are insured or covered by an affiliate of UnitedHealthcare®, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and Medicare-approved Part D Sponsor.

*Medicare Supplement Insurance in the states of Minnesota, Massachusetts and Wisconsin operate differently than in other states.

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